Wednesday 23 October 2019

Democrat Bernie Sanders heads home after heart op

The 78-year-old had two stents inserted to open up a blocked artery after experiencing chest discomfort.

Bernie Sanders has left hospital and is heading home to Vermont (Cheryl Senter/AP)
Bernie Sanders has left hospital and is heading home to Vermont (Cheryl Senter/AP)

By Nicholas Riccardi and Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press

Bernie Sanders has flown home to Vermont after undergoing a procedure on his heart to clear a blocked artery.

The Democratic presidential candidate, 78, experienced chest discomfort during an event in Las Vegas on Tuesday and underwent a medical evaluation in hospital.

His campaign team released a statement from his doctors that said two stents were inserted to open up a blocked artery in his heart. They say the rest of his arteries were normal.

He was released from hospital on Friday, with doctors saying the rest of his stay was “uneventful with good expected progress”.

He boarded a plane back to his home state on Saturday morning.

It was the second time in two months that health problems forced Mr Sanders to cancel campaign events. In September, he backed out of some appearances in South Carolina because he lost his voice.

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Bernie Sanders campaigning last Sunday in New Hampshire (Cheryl Senter/AP)

The Democratic field’s oldest candidate sometimes jokingly refers to his age at events, especially when interacting with younger participants.

His aides have tried to project him as a candidate with energy levels that surpass his 2016 presidential campaign.

He is one of three candidates over 70 in the Democratic primary, which has spurred debate over whether the party should rally behind a new generation of political leaders.

His health scare is certain to revive that discussion in the weeks before the next presidential debate this month.

A letter released by his physician in 2016 cited a history of mildly elevated cholesterol but no heart disease.

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